Thai women living in Austria find a supportive husband is the ticket to the ball
A Thai woman living in Austria has revealed that she was prepared to renounce her Thai citizenship in order to become an Austrian national. Luckily for her, she was not able.
Nattawan Posinger is one of an estimated 5,000 Thai women living in Austria in Europe. Figures released from a study shows that in Austria there are over 4 Thai women to Thai men
living in the country chiefly as a result of binational marriages between Austrian men and Thai women.
'Austria was a more popular destination for Thai women I think in the 80's and 90's but in recent years it has become more difficult for Austrian men to find Thai wives,' says James Morris,
an internet commentator on Thai women seeking lives in foreign countries. There are some reasons for this change including:
- Higher net income requirement: Austria has some of the most stringent requirements in Europe for Austrian citizens thinking of marrying Thai women and getting visas for their wives
or life partners to live in Austria. One of these is a 'net income' requirement taking into account not only the person's salary and occupation but also job and income stability as well as outlays.
Similar requirements were recently introduced in the United Kingdom which have caused some difficulties for UK men marrying Thai wives.
- Migration from eastern Europe and Turkey: Austrian men are getting older and the requirement of Austrian men for marriage partners has decreased. There has also been a wave of
migration by women from Eastern Europe into Austria.
- Conservative country: Austria is a conservative country with a very homogenous population. Younger Austrian men seem less inclined towards dating Thai women than their counterparts
in Northern European countries. 'I think this is also true for other countries with a traditional catholic population,' says James Morris. However there are currently many Austrian men on
ThaiLoveLines.com (TLL), Thailand's No. 1 dating site which is very popular with Thai women and foreigners seeking international partners. Right now there are 300 Austrian men actively
seeking Thai women for friendship, pen pals, relationships and marriage online. 44% of these are younger Austrian men aged 18 -40 years. 'I would say that for Thai women thinking of living
in Austria that it requires a certain amount of education and determination to find the right man. It certainly is a great place to live,' says Carla Boonkong, a woman's magazine editor in
Bangkok. 'However there have been tensions regarding immigration in Austria but I think all Austrians have a great respect for Thai women and Thai culture. Nattaya agrees: 'Austrian men
are very responsible and the people of Austria are good people, I think all Thai women here find that there is no problem as they are also very hardworking women making a new life in this
Nattakan Postinger is 34 and lives in Liesing, a suburb of Vienna. She has been married to her husband for eleven years now having met him while he was on a holiday to Thailand in
Her husband Matthias is a qualified accountant now living in semi retirement. Matthias still does bookkeeping work in his spare time while Nattakan works as an administration manager
in a sportswear firm nearby. 'We are living comfortably and my life in Vienna is good,' says Nattakan. Unlike many Thai women living in Europe, Nattakan does not have a large extended
family living in her native Saraburi province in Thailand who are dependent her for remittances to Thailand. Her only brother still lives in Thailand where is he is also coincidentally an
accountant working in another sportswear company located in Bangkok. 'I sometimes miss Thailand but there are many Thai restaurants in Vienna and I can see everything on the internet,'
she says. Her last visit to Thailand was in 2009 with her husband. She currently does not have a return trip planned. Nattakan speaks fluent German and since her arrival in Germany has
attained a masters degree in business. 'I find life in Austria far more straightforward and productive that was my life in Thailand, I am still proud to be Thai but I am also very proud to be an
Thai women renounce Thai citizenship to become Austrian
Part of the requirement for obtaining Austrian citizenship was renunciation of her Thai citizenship. This was something that Nattakan thought about very seriously about but finally decided
that her future was in Austria. 'Like all Thai women I think about Thailand but my life now is in Austria which has been so good to me and with my husband,' she says. However Nattakan found
it impossible to renounce her Thai citizenship 'I went to the Thai embassy and I send the documents but I am still a Thai citizen. I wanted to do the right thing as required but I understand
that in Thailand it is not that straight forward a process,' she says. So Nattakan now has effectively dual citizenship but she discounts this. 'You can only have one life and you cannot really live
in two countries at any one time, I am determined to make my way here in Austria,' she says. We put it to her that many Thai women in Germany, France, Belgium and Holland now had dual
lives particularly with a semi retired husband but she insist this lifestyle is not for her . 'I would not like two houses and such expense!'
Nattakan says the following are great advantages of being a thai woman living in Austria:
- Austrian people are very straight forward and correct: 'I have said often that I like the order and correct mode of living life in Austria, the people are also very good people but
you must show that you are also willing to make life work here, yes, there is work to do but I find that I have more time to enjoy myself and for my husband than I would if I was working in
- Austrian culture and entertainment: 'Vienna is such a beautiful city, it is glorious for a Thai woman like myself to find herself living here, I love to drive into the city centre at least
once a week and spend time there, we often do this together.' Nattakan also tells us that she attends a number of viennese balls every year with her husband. 'My husband is a romantic man
and we have a special night out together at least every two months, she says.
Nattakan says that Thai women thinking of finding an Australian life partner, husband or boyfriend need to think about the following key point points:
- Austrian men are old fashioned: 'I think Austria is a more conservative society, I like this personally but I would counsel any Thai woman to enquire that the background and
character of the Austrian man that she is dating online or otherwise is the right one. Living in foreign country like Austria is a serious business,' she says.
- German Language: 'I don't think a Thai woman can live properly here without at least some ability to speak German,' she says. 'Even if I meet Thai women newly married to
Austrian men, they can all communicate somewhat in German.' Nattawan studied German is school in Thailand and this is how she met her husband. 'I had a job in a travel centre in
Bangkok because I could speak German somewhat and I offered to be his personal guide for part of his holiday,' she reveals.
Thai women must adapt to Austrian culture: Nattakan says that her life in Austria has been a positive experience and that Vienna is a city with many cultural influences. However she feels
that it is a definitely Christian or Catholic country with a completely 'different feeling' from the culture and atmosphere in Thailand. 'Thai women coming to live in Austria should be prepared
for a more serious life in Austria.' She again stresses the importance of finding the right Austrian husband or partner.
Austria is a Catholic country
Austria is Catholic country with over 75% of the population are Roman Catholic. Like most countries in Europe, attendance at church is declining. However organised religion is a more
entrenched with every household in Austria paying a 1% a mandatory contribution to their church. Nattakan attends Sunday mass services every Sunday with her husband in Liesing, the
sburb they live in Vienna while he accompanies her to the Wat Yansangworn Buddhist temple on important Buddhist holidays. Nattakan makes a point very year to celebrate Visakha Bucha
Day with a visit to the Buddhist temple and afterwards a celebration for family members. 'My husband's family come in the evening and we have a quiet party,' she says. Nattakan has a
number of friends from Thailand living in Vienna but her main circle of friends are non Thai. 'I go to the Thai restaurant now and then and I have some friends from the temple but these more
casual friendships,' she says.
Thai women living in Austria
Research shows that this may be so for many Thai women living in Austria. A recent report suggests that over 52% of Thai women living in Austria are living in smaller towns or rural
locations throughout the country. Nattakan expresses some concern for Thai women living with Austrian partners who are not involved with the community. 'If a Thai woman has the right
man, things will go very well as Austrians are very supportive people when they know you but I think it would be difficult for a Thai woman without being introduced to a social circle,' she
Thai culture in Austria and Vienna
Although the Thai community in Austria is relatively small, comprising for the most part of Thai women married to Austria men, it also includes about 70 Thai students studying at Austrian
university and some Thai business people. There is a Royal Thai embassy located in Vienna which offers assistance to Thai women who are married to Austrian men. Recent initiatives by
the Thai government to provide more support to thai women living in Europe have been taken. A postgraduate report on Thai women living in urban centres across the border in Germany
recently had previously revealed that some Thai women, particularly from lower socioeconomic classes feel that the services being provided could be improved.
In addition to the Wat Yansangworn which opened in 2000, there is second Thai Buddhist temple located in an apartment building in Vienna. Wat Thamnurak in recent years has staged
lavish Songkran celebrations for Thailand's New Year featuring invited guests, a parade and Buddhist ceremonies. Staged on one day in April, the event begins in the morning and lasts
through until midnight.
Thailand making a big impact in Austria
According to the Royal Thai embassy in Vienna there are 35 registered Thai restaurants in Austria, 20 of these being in Vienna. The first Thai restaurant in Vienna; 'Siam Restaurant'
opened its doors nearly 40 years ago in the mid 1970s. Thai restaurants in Austria and Vienna are not only frequented by Thai women and their partners living in Austria but also by a greatest
number of Austrians who, like other Europeans, often make their first acquaintance with Thai culture at such venues. In addition to this there is a growing number of Thai businesses in
Vienna including Thai massage parlours and a growing range of shops shops selling Thai food stuffs.
Nattakan says that even though she, like many Thai women in Austria, has made every effort to become part of the lifestyle and culture in her adopted country that in recent years the
impact that Thailand is making in Austria is quite remarkable. 'I feel that Austria is a very fine country and it has been very good to me but I also feel my own country is a unique and
exceptional one. Thailand is so far away from Austria, sometimes it feels a little lonely but I have no regrets,' she says.